Saturday, September 1, 2012

TARJA: "Act 1"

Rating: Live
Label: earMUSIC/Edel 2012
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Act 1: The ultimate Tarja experience 2 CDs- Recorded in Rosario, Argentina 30th and 31th of March 2012. Two dates and you'll quickly notice how the audience fades in and out at the beginning and end of every single track. That's a major downer in my opinion. So what if they decided to pick the best tracks out of two nights? they could at least keep the crowd noise going since it's a huge and dare I say essential part of any live experience. I can't imagine that any fan would be especially pleased with this decision?

Symphonic emotional packed metal tunes, the majority of which are pretty interchangeable but carried off with such intergrity and belief by the impressive vocalist that they achive near worship like admiration. Queen Tarja sits nicely on the throne of Scandinavia and Turunen is easily the most successful female metal vocalist ever to come from the North. Not that we are all that interested in refering to performers by using the lame, old, stereotype of male vs female, since it's all about quality and not gender. I do feel, however, that Tarja at times might come across a tad cold? Perhaps not to everybodys likeing but then again who is?

My single (promo) DVD copy contain excerpt of the double release and kicks off with the classic black/white photos of the band backstage and the constantly smiling singer. The see-through curtain stays down as Tarja enters the stage like a proper diva in a fancy black dress and matching hair. The demon mask and her entire stage persona for that matter -like something out of the Opera. Watch her go through at least three different dresses and find out exacly how important the odd figure of Max Lilja (cello) is to their live sound.

To get the charm and strength of Tarja Turunen - get your hands on the DVD release. The full on drama, bombastic, excellent new single and ballad, "Into The Sun", definitely among the highlights along with the likes of "I Walk Alone", "Until My Last Breath" and "Little Lies (even though it sounds like "Needle Lies"). The (too) long drum-solo and the following jam-session had me reaching for the remote control (skip). I haven't been listening to many of Tarja's solo tunes prior to this and ended up quite pleased by the material. I never felt the urge before after hearing the (shocking) covers of classic rock tunes such as "Still Of The Night" (Whitesnake).

Here's the thing with most if not all the operatic, soprano singers, they and certainly Tarja are darn good at adding their distinctive touch and stamp to their own material, but should never be allowed to perform any metal covers whatsoever. Ehem, that's a bit harsh. I can live with "Over The Hills and Far Away" (Gary Moore) and the short medley of "Where Were You Last Night" (Ankie Bagger), "Heaven is a Place On Earth" (Belinda Carlisle) and "Livin' On a Prayer" (Bon Jovi). But seriously... the cover that really hits the head of the nail, "Phantom Of The Opera", hardly surprising considering my rant. Hey, I did this without typing Nightwish.... ehh... nevermind.

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